Saw this blurb this morning as I read the news in my Twitter feed…
There is a sense of relief now that the shooting, artillery and airstrikes in Mosul and Iraq in general are dwindling. That collective feeling of relief is normal but can be savored only briefly because now comes the most critical phase of the operation — winning the peace — the phase the United States and its partners have failed in in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine, but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. It’s purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist.”
George C. Marshall
Secretary of State 1947-49
Secretary of Defense 1950-51
All of the fighting that has been done and all of the death that has befallen the citizens of the region simply delivers this coalition and the nation of Iraq to the doorstep of an opportunity to create a better reality for the people of the region… but can they create that reality on the ground? Will they seize THIS opportunity? Will this time be different?
“Winning the peace” or “Phase 4” is difficult work. It is where the United States and it’s partners succeeded in post World War II Europe and Japan and then again in post-armistice South Korea yet have failed in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Let’s hope Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson have the foresight of General and later Secretary George Marshall — the visionary of what ultimately became “The Marshal Plan” — and enact policies that are in the long term best interests of the region and not policies that are simply expedient. The Bush and Obama Administrations both destabilized the order of the Middle East and Afghanistan — both attempted the expedient and we have seen the fruits of that course of action.
In Mattis we trust, as we who fought for him always have.